He sits in front of the T.V. with his parents every Saturday night watching Hockey Night in Canada. He admires the sold-out crowd and the commentators’ ability to flawlessly trace the game with their words. He hasn’t taken his team’s jersey off all day. He spent the afternoon playing hockey in the driveway with his friends, yelling out his favourite player’s name as he sniped it top shelf.
As he watches the game he finds himself imagining what it would be like to be flying down that ice, with the support of thousands of fans behind him. He dreams of scoring the game-winning goal in the Stanley Cup Finals. Though he dreams of all this, he’s told by society that he will never achieve it. He’s too used to being told, “Silly boy, hockey’s for girls!” to believe in his dream. He settles for watching his heroes hit the ice, ponytails behind them, knowing that his dreams are always going to be thwarted by society’s barrier.
This is quite an impossible world to imagine, isn’t it? The fact that most of you probably imagined a little boy admiring his male hockey heroes and weren’t phased by his dreams is exactly what’s wrong with society.
It’s difficult for us to imagine a little boy growing up in a society that tells him what he can and cannot do, but replace the “he” with “she” in the above story and it makes total sense. I have a problem with that and so should you.
This year, a professional female hockey league that will pay its players has formed, better known as the NWHL. Women’s hockey was first played in the 1800s and 2015 is the first year female hockey players will be paid to play the game? I hope you stand behind me when I say, it’s about damn time.
I hope that in my lifetime I’ll be able to see little girls watching their female hockey heroes on T.V. (not just every four years at the Olympics) and witness their faces light up with joy knowing that achieving that destination isn’t as impossible as it once was. I hope that in my lifetime women stop being told that playing professional hockey, and hockey in general, is a pipe dream that only a few will ever achieve. I hope that in my lifetime little girls will never have to choose their dreams based on society’s expectations. I hope that in my lifetime I’ll see the women’s game transition from being below the men’s game to being equal to it.